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By Ann Thelen

Spring is my favorite season – that is, until the next season starts. Each new season brings with it a special ambiance, things that make it part of Iowa’s charm. That’s one of the main reasons I love being an Iowan.

Beauty is all around us, and there are incredible stories to be told. I snapped this month’s cover photo while my husband and I were sitting on our deck one Sunday afternoon. Mother Nature had worked her magic on the beautiful blossoms, and the sky was a perfect blue from her palette. A bee finding pollen on a flower was a subtle reminder that things are happening all around us.

Across the thousands of miles served by Iowa’s electric cooperatives, things are happening in those communities. From the Missouri River to the Mississippi River, electric cooperatives are united in powering lives across Iowa’s diverse landscape of 99 counties.

Stories waiting to be told

Electric cooperative members, employees and directors are doing things to enhance the quality of life in Iowa’s communities. Many of these same people have interesting hobbies, traditions or stories that are waiting to be told. Perhaps a group of cooperative members rides together annually on RAGBRAI® or cooperative employees lead fundraising efforts for a worthy cause. Maybe a high schooler is achieving something special. Is there a business in your community that’s unique? Has a hometown son or daughter moved away and is now involved in an intriguing career?

I have a feeling the stories are endless. Iowans are modest and don’t like to toot their own horns. But that’s where you come in. I’d love to hear your story ideas that have a cooperative connection.

The fabric of communities are the people who live and work there; the people who go about their way, doing what they do best. And you know those people.

The process is easy. Simply send an email to me at with “Story Idea” in the subject line. In a brief paragraph (or two), tell me about your idea. You’re pitching this idea to us, so be sure to provide the best details you can. I’m looking for the Who, What, Why and Where. Include your contact information and for the subject you’re suggesting. If we publish your idea, we’ll recognize you in the magazine and send a token of our appreciation to you. It may take us a few months until we cover your story ideas in the magazine, so thank you for your patience.

Capturing cooperative beauty

Remember, we’re also looking for stunning cover images, and we’ll award you with $100 if your image is used. Thank you to those who have submitted beautiful photos. Because many of the shots we received were winter-related, those will be considered when Iowa’s seasons again transform the landscape. We’re looking for high-quality, clear photos from every season, which depict Iowa or a cooperative scene. Email photos to me with “Cover Submission” in the subject line.

I’m already looking forward to checking my email and hearing from you!

Ann Thelen is the editor of Living with Energy in Iowa.

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Ann Thelen, editor

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